Melon Farmers Original Version

Film Censorship in China

All Chinese films censored to be suitable for kids


Winnie the Pooh: Blood and Honey...

Chinese film censors ban the film from screening in Hong Kong

Link Here 21st March 2023
Full story: Film Censorship in China...All Chinese films censored to be suitable for kids
Winnie the Pooh: Blood and Honey is a 2023 UK horror by Rhys Frake-Waterfield
Starring Nikolai Leon, Maria Taylor and Natasha Rose Mills BBFC link 2020 IMDb

After Christopher Robin abandons them for college, Pooh and Piglet embark on a bloody rampage as they search for a new source of food.

The screening of Winnie the Pooh: Blood and Honey, a British slasher film due to be released in Hong Kong this week, has been cancelled supposedly for technical reasons.

Chinese censors have in the frequently targeted the Winnie the Pooh character due to memes that compare the gait and girth of the bumbling bear to President Xi Jinping. The comparisons began in 2013 when Xi visited the US and met his then counterpart, Barack Obama, and some online commentators seized on their likeness to Pooh and Tigger.

UK: Passed 18 uncut for strong violence, gory images, threat:
  • 2023 Altitude Film Distribution (RB) Blu-ray at UK Amazon #ad released on 17th April 2023
  • 2023 Altitude Film Distribution R2 DVD at UK Amazon released on 17th April 2023




Chinese Top Gun film delayed for inferior flying prowess as shown in Top Gun Maverick

Link Here23rd December 2022
Full story: Film Censorship in China...All Chinese films censored to be suitable for kids
Born to Fly is a 2022 China action drama by Liu Xiaoshi
Starring Yibo Wang, Jun Hu and Yosh Yu IMDb

The story of a special operations team headed by elite pilots , being ordered to test new fighter jets. Test flight after test flight, they continue to challenge the sky and the limits of themselves.

With hot young Chinese test pilots and heart-stopping aerial acrobatics, Born to Fly was supposed to be China's answer to Top Gun: Maverick. The wildly anticipated action flick stars Wang Yibo, a pop star turned actor (think China's Harry Styles), and was written and directed by Liu Xiaoshi, who cut his teeth making popular promotional videos for the Chinese military. Produced in full cooperation with the People's Liberation Army Air Force -- much as Maverick was with the U.S. Navy 204 the film showcases China's most advanced stealth fighter jet, the J-20.

So, when Born to Fly was officially scheduled for release on Sept. 30, the day before China's National Day holiday, many analysts were bullish on the tentpole's prospects to become China's next proudly nationalistic military blockbuster.

But Born to Fly was mysteriously grounded just days before its planned opening. The film's producers, including major studios Alibaba Pictures and Bona Film Group, put out a vague statement saying that the release would be postponed in order to present better production effects. No further details were provided and no update has been given.

Chinese authorities never comment directly on censorship decisions, but the word within the Beijing film industry is that Born to Fly's producers were made to realize that their movie's stunts and visual effects were far inferior to Top Gun: Maverick's and that the Chinese version risked ridicule in comparison -- all of which would have been most unwelcome, even politically dangerous, given that the two films are, in part, propagandistic displays of the United States' and China's military strengths.



Losing sight of freedom...

Hong Kong film censors object to scene in short film referencing the democracy protests

Link Here 12th August 2022
Full story: Film Censorship in China...All Chinese films censored to be suitable for kids
Hong Kong has banned the screening of an award-winning animated short film over a one-second depiction of the city's 2014 democracy protests.

The Ground Up Film Society told AFP that it cancelled a Sunday screening of Losing Sight of a Longed Place at their film festival after Hong Kong authorities would not allow an uncut version to be shown.

The eight-minute film began as a student project and tells the true story of a Hong Kong gay rights activist.

Hong Kong censors demanded cutting a scene that lasts less than a second. The contentious shot shows tents and slogans reminiscent of Hong Kong's pro-democracy Umbrella Movement in 2014, which authorities describe as an unlawful occupation of thoroughfares.



Fighting Back...

Cuts to a Chinese streamed version of Fight Club reduced after widespread protests

Link Here7th February 2022
Full story: Film Censorship in China...All Chinese films censored to be suitable for kids
Fight Club is a 1999 USA / Germany drama by David Fincher.
Starring Brad Pitt, Edward Norton and Helena Bonham Carter. Melon Farmers link  YouTube icon   BBFC link 2020   IMDb

A ticking-time-bomb insomniac and a slippery soap salesman channel primal male aggression into a shocking new form of therapy. Their concept catches on, with underground "fight clubs" forming in every town, until an eccentric gets in the way and ignites an out-of-control spiral toward oblivion.

Chinese streaming giant Tencent has reinstated the original ending of the Hollywood movie Fight Club after a censored version last month sparked backlash.

The original ending to the 1999 film Fight Club, starring Brad Pitt, shows scenes of explosions and relentless fighting. But China's version simply showed a message on screen saying the authorities won and saved the day.

The replacement version on Tencent reportedly restores about 11 of the 12 minutes that were cut. The scenes still missing are those featuring nudity.

The changes to the ending were: [ Spoilers! hover or click text below]

The film's original finale shows Norton's character killing his alter ego, before bombs destroy buildings in a subversive plot to reorder society.

China's version of the film, which was only released last month, cut all those scenes, and instead explained that the police foiled the plot, arrested the criminals and sent Durden to a lunatic asylum.



Best Short Docmentary...

Hong Kong bans broadcast of the Oscars Award Ceremony as China is sensitive about a nominated film about the Hong Kong democracy protests

Link Here29th March 2021
Full story: Film Censorship in China...All Chinese films censored to be suitable for kids
Do Not Split is a 2020 Norway / USA documentary short film by Anders Hammer
Starring Lucie Fouble and Colette Marin-Catherine IMDb

In 2019 Hong Kong was rocked by the largest protests since Britain handed back the area to China in 1997. This is the story of the protests, told through a series of demonstrations by local protesters that escalate into conflict when highly armed police appear on the scene.

For the first time in more than half a century, Hong Kong movie-lovers won't be able to watch the Oscars. The city's largest TV network TVB won't broadcast next month's ceremony after China asked media to play down the awards, following the nomination of a documentary on Hong Kong's pro-democracy protests and concern over the political views of Best Director contender Chloe Zhao .

Bloomberg reported earlier this month that the Communist Party's propaganda department told all local media outlets to scrap live broadcasts of the Oscars and focus coverage on awards that aren't seen as controversial.

China is wound up by Do Not Split, which chronicles the 2019 demonstrations against China's tightening grip over the former British territory and was nominated for best short documentary.



A dangerous kiss...

Mulan remake censored at the request of China

Link Here28th February 2020
Full story: Film Censorship in China...All Chinese films censored to be suitable for kids
  Mulan is a 2020 USA family action adventure by Niki Caro.
Starring Yifei Liu, Donnie Yen and Jet Li. IMDb

A young Chinese maiden disguises herself as a male warrior in order to save her father. A live-action feature film based on Disney's 'Mulan.'

Mulan movie kiss scene CUT by Disney after China's censors demand removal DISNEY's Mulan movie has cut a kiss scene after Chinese censors forbid its inclusion. By George Simpson PUBLISHED: 13:20, Thu, Feb 27, 2020 | UPDATED: 16:39, Thu, Feb 27, 2020

Muland is a live action remake of a popular Disney cartoon movie. But the Chinese release has seen a kiss removed after China's local executives demand its censorship. The intimate moment was between Mulan and her love interest Chen Honghui.

According to The Hollywood Reporter , Disney showed Mulan at a Chinese test screening. And in the early cut, the kiss scene on a bridge did not go down well with the authorities. Director Niki Caro said:

It was very beautiful, but the China office went, 'No, you can't, that doesn't feel right to the Chinese people.



A loss of independence...

Chinese Film Festival closes down as the country's censorship laws close in

Link Here12th January 2020
Full story: Film Censorship in China...All Chinese films censored to be suitable for kids
One of China's longest-running independent film festivals has decided to shut down against the backdrop of mounting government censorship.

The China International Film Festival (CIFF) announced:

We believe that under current local organizational conditions it is impossible to organize an effective film festival that has a pure, independent spirit.

The CIFF was founded in the eastern city of Nanjing in 2003 and has been staged 14 times. It had screened films on sensitive subjects such as homosexuality and controversies surrounding the massive Three Gorges Dam project in central China.

Hong Kong's South China Morning Post quoted Zhang Xianmin, a Beijing Film Academy professor and the festival's key organizer, as saying the shutdown takes China back to a more restricted era for film. Zhang added:

We just went back to 20 years ago, when there was no room and opportunity for independent films.



Once Upon a Time in Censorland...

China bans Tarantino's Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. Was it for an irreverent depiction of Bruce Lee?

Link Here 20th October 2019
Full story: Film Censorship in China...All Chinese films censored to be suitable for kids
Once Upon a Time ... in Hollywood is a 2019 USA / UK comedy drama by Quentin Tarantino.
Starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt and Margot Robbie. BBFC link IMDb

Quentin Tarantino's Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood visits 1969 Los Angeles, where everything is changing, as TV star Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCaprio) and his longtime stunt double Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt) make their way around an industry they hardly recognize anymore. The ninth film from the writer-director features a large ensemble cast and multiple storylines in a tribute to the final moments of Hollywood's golden age.

A few days ago the Chinese cinema release of Quentin Tarantino's Once Upon a Time ... in Hollywood was cancelled with just a week's notice. The film censors banned the film but did not given any explanation of the reason why.

Tarantino, who is known to be opposed to any kind of tinkering with his films and has final-cut rights included in his contract, has no plans to bring his film back to the editing bay, especially given that China has offered no explanation for what is objectionable in the film that revolves around the events leading up to the infamous Manson Family murders of 1969.

The decision to halt the release is speculated to be about Tarantino's portrayal of the late martial arts hero Bruce Lee, who was of Chinese descent. It seems that Bruce Lee's daughter, Shannon Lee, made a direct appeal to China's National Film Administration, asking that it demand changes to her father's portrayal. Friends and family of the Hollywood action star have criticized Tarantino for his portrayal of Lee, saying it doesn't resemble the real-life man and is instead a caricature.

Another source suggested that China may finally be balking at the film's violence, which is graphic at times but far less than a typical Tarantino film. However there are reports that the film had actually been approved and that the something must have happened to change the censor's mind.




The latest cinema film to be banned in China

Link Here30th July 2019
Full story: Film Censorship in China...All Chinese films censored to be suitable for kids
Parasite is a 2019 South Korea comedy thriller by Joon-ho Bong (as Joon Ho Bong).
Starring Kang-ho Song, Yeo-jeong Jo and Woo-sik Choi. IMDb

All unemployed, Ki-taek's family takes peculiar interest in the wealthy and glamorous Parks for their livelihood until they get entangled in an unexpected incident.

The film was pulled from the FIRST film festival in Xining for technical reasons, a euphemism for being banned by the film censors.

No explanation was provided but it could be a simple as frosty relations between China and South Korea. No Korean films have been allowed to screen in China in the last two years.



Extract The Hidden Sword...

Chinese film censorship leaves little chance that its films can find international success and the resulting insipid films are hardly setting China's box office alight

Link Here16th July 2019
Full story: Film Censorship in China...All Chinese films censored to be suitable for kids

The Hidden Sword is a 2017 China action drama by Haofeng Xu.
Starring Qing Xu, Jue Huang and Aoyue Zhang. IMDb

Latest film of Xu Haofeng, a new master of Chinese Wu Xia films, screenwriter of Wong Kar-wai's The Grandmaster. The new film tells a Chinese Wu Xia story happened in 1930s, but with a new presentation.

Long-awaited martial-arts film The Hidden Sword announced Monday that its theatrical release this Friday in China has been cancelled, presumably the latest casualty of a censorship campaign that is damaging the country's box office.

The Chinese film censors had granted the film at least enough permission to appear at international film festivals and it won awards at Montreal and Taiwan.

However the censors seemed to get cold feet at the domestic premiere. It was banned just 4 days before its premiere.

See Chinese Box Office Self-Harm Continues With Axing of 'The Hidden Sword' from



Offsite Article: Avengers Endgame...

Link Here15th May 2019
Full story: Film Censorship in China...All Chinese films censored to be suitable for kids
Is the China cinema boom slowing down as censorship clampdown bites?

See article from



I don't feel very much like Pooh today, said Jinping....

China bans Christopher Robin due to sensitivity of the Winnie the Pooh character being used to mock President Xi

Link Here4th August 2018
Full story: Film Censorship in China...All Chinese films censored to be suitable for kids
Christopher Robin is a 2018 USA children's musical by Marc Forster.
Starring Hayley Atwell, Ewan McGregor and Chris O'Dowd. IMDb

The Children's film Christopher Robin has been banned by Chinese film censors. No reason was given for the denial, but a source pinned the blame on China's crusade against images of the Winnie the Pooh character, which is widely used as a mocking representation of the Chinese leader Xi Jinping.

Last summer, authorities began blocking pictures of Winnie the Pooh on social media when bloggers drew comparisons between the pudgy bear and Xi, which has put the country's censors in overdrive. In June, Chinese authorities blocked HBO after Last Week Tonight host John Oliver mocked Xi's sensitivity over being compared to Winnie the Pooh.



The case for gay sex in the media...

A Chinese court has accepted a case challenges the media censor's claims that gay sex is abnormal

Link Here 5th January 2018
Full story: Film Censorship in China...All Chinese films censored to be suitable for kids
China's media censor is being taken to court over its view that homosexual activities are abnormal.

Following a crackdown on showing homosexuality in the country's media, a Beijing court has made the unusual move of accepting a legal challenge brought by a member of the public.

In the unlikely event that Fan Chunlin wins his case, China's State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television (SAPPRFT) would be forced to publicly clarify a regulation banning gay sex.

With China's courts, the media and the SAPPRFT all controlled by the ruling communist party, the chances of Fan winning the case are small. However, Fan's lawyer, Tang Xiangqian, said that he hoped that the legal challenge will raise awareness of rights for homosexual people in the country.

A decision on the case is expected within six months.



Perhaps with an eye to being able to sell films to the west...

Chinese film censors seem to be relaxing their requirements for highly sanitised storylines

Link Here5th January 2018
Full story: Film Censorship in China...All Chinese films censored to be suitable for kids

For a long time in China there have been numerous censorship rules about storylines that could or could not appear in films. Stories with magical elements were strictly limited to taking place during ancient times, modern horror films depicting seemingly supernatural elements had to explain by the end of the film that the ghosts were just hallucinations or tricks setup by crazed killers, exceedingly bloody or violent scenes were nowhere to be seen.

The entire process of getting a film made was also once strictly supervised at every step of the way from the beginning of production all the way to right before a film hit theaters. But 2017 provided some hints that things are relaxing in the Chinese mainland.

In March of 2017, the government introduced the China Film Industry Promotion Law. One aspect of this new law has been to make it easier for films to start production. According to new regulations films that do not touch upon national security, diplomacy, ethnic minorities, religion, the military and other sensitive subjects, no longer need to hand in their scripts for approval prior to shooting.

A few example storylines have already surfaced that would not have been made a couple of years ago. In Hanson and the Beast , for example. The film takes place in modern times, yet tells the story of a zoo keeper who encounters and falls in love with a fox spirit. Many Chinese filmgoers were surprised to see spirits and demons straight out of Chinese legends depicted as living in modern China. The film does spend a few minutes of sci-fi hand-waving to explain why these fantasy creatures from Chinese legends actually exist.

Another example is the upcoming animated dark comedy Have a Nice Day , contains explicit violent imagery in its depiction of criminal gang activity. The film was selected to compete for the Golden Bear Award at the 67th Berlin International Film Festival last year, but many moviegoers in China thought that the film wouldn't see a release in its original form since it depicted the dark side of Chinese society. The film wasn't quite in its original form though as a few lines of dialogue were censored.

Perhaps China has realised that highly sanitised films are no good for selling to the west.



Update: Cultural censorship...

China's masses enriched by even more film censorship law

Link Here8th November 2016
Full story: Film Censorship in China...All Chinese films censored to be suitable for kids
China has passed a new film censorship law mopping up a few more prohibitions somehow overlooked by previous censorship laws.

the law bans content deemed harmful to the dignity, honour and interests of the People's Republic and encouraging the promotion of socialist core values .

The law claims that its aim is to spread core socialist values , enrich the masses' spiritual and cultural life, and set ground rules for the industry.

The law further forbids content that criticised the law or constitution, harms national unity, sovereignty or territorial integrity, exposes national secrets, harms Chinese security, dignity, honour or interests, or spreads terrorism or extremism. Also banned are subjects that defame the people's excellent cultural traditions , incite ethnic hatred or discrimination or destroy ethnic unity.

It is also illegal for Chinese firms to hire or partner with overseas productions deemed to have views harmful to China's dignity, honour and interests, harm social stability or hurt the feelings of the Chinese people .

Films must not violate the country's religious policies, spread cults, or superstitions , insult or slander people.

The law comes into effect on March 1 next year.



Update: Moral Censors...

China is set to pass another film censorship law mandating morality standards for film makers

Link Here30th August 2016
Full story: Film Censorship in China...All Chinese films censored to be suitable for kids
China will soon enact a new film censorship law banning content relating to preaching terrorism and mandating clearance of a film by three 'experts' and also demanding that film personalities  abide by morality standards.

The law is currently being reviewed by China's legislature the National People's Congress (NPC). According to the bill, people working in the movie industry, including actors and directors, should strive for excellence in both professional skills and moral integrity, and build good public images.

The draft law also stresses that film distribution companies and cinemas should not fabricate movie screenings and ticket sales or take other improper means. This followed reports that Chinese film firms tried to inflate revenues with fake shows to inflate box office earnings to claim success.

The new law requires that films shall not contain any content preaching terrorism and extremism, and films shall be reviewed by at least three 'experts'.

Trigger warnings should be given to viewers, if films contain materials that might cause psychological or physical discomfort to viewers, such as minors.



Update: Chinese McCartneyism...

Film censors approve first film with gay central characters

Link Here3rd September 2015
Full story: Film Censorship in China...All Chinese films censored to be suitable for kids
China has approved for cinema release the first film with gay principal characters. Film director Wanga nnounced on Weibo, a Chinese version of Twitter, that censors had given Seek McCartney permission for a cinema release. He said:

This is a small step for the film department, and a big step for the members of the film industry.

The film, a Chinese-French co-production, centres on a secret relationship between two men, one Chinese and one French.

Fan Popo, an LGBT filmmaker and rights activist was note entirely convinced that this is a policy change. He told AFP:

The fact that this film can be released in theatres doesn't mean gay films in the future will be able to released in China. China's system for evaluating films is still very unstable, because the rules are very unclear. It depends heavily on the individual censor's whims.



Update: Gobbled up by money monsters...

Sony censors references to China in the film Pixels

Link Here 28th July 2015
Full story: Film Censorship in China...All Chinese films censored to be suitable for kids
i Pixels is a 2015 USA action comedy by Chris Columbus.
Starring Adam Sandler, Kevin James and Michelle Monaghan. Youtube link IMDb

When aliens misinterpret video feeds of classic arcade games as a declaration of war, they attack the Earth in the form of the video games.

According to some of the emails leaked from Sony, the studio heavily edited the movie Pixels to ensure it didn't fall foul of the ever-present Chinese censors.

Reuters is reporting that the original script for the movie, which made frequent references to China, was sanitized after executives felt it could hinder its global box office appeal.

For example, one scene, which featured pixelated aliens blasting a hole into the Great Wall of China, was decided to be too inflammatory for Chinese censors. Li Chow, chief representative of Sony Pictures in China, explained that although the film featured other landmarks being destroyed, it was simply better to lose the scene.

The original script also apparently contained references to a Communist Conspiracy brother hacking an email server. As you can expect, this was also stripped in an attempt to pass the movie for the Chinese market. In fact, by the end of the cull, there were no references to the authoritarian nation left in the script.

Initially, it seemed Sony execs toyed with the idea of releasing both a Chinese and international version of Pixels. Ultimately they decided this would likely backfire.



Update: Big Brother to Appoint Regional Little Brothers...

China is set to to decentralise the censorship of local films

Link Here 11th March 2014
Full story: Film Censorship in China...All Chinese films censored to be suitable for kids
China's film censor is planning to decentralize the censorship process for local movies, granting bureaus in the provinces the power to censor films.

As it stands, filmmakers face lengthy waiting periods for approval of their movies from the Film Bureau in Beijing (SARFT), which is part of the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television.

The move is due to happen in April and is limited to local films. The censorship of imported Hollywood films, and co-productions with international firms, will remain under the control of the central Film Bureau in Beijing.

SARFT will retain responsibility for the censorship of national films, for censoring movies produced by central government and military film production companies, and the censorship of imported films and co-productions with overseas firms. It will also be responsible for reviewing the films that are censored by the provincial bureaus, responsible for handling the film release license and responsible for the censorship of the film if the film production company has some objections to the decision..



Offsite Article: Chinese movies do well at the Berlin International Film Festival...

Link Here23rd February 2014
Full story: Film Censorship in China...All Chinese films censored to be suitable for kids
Success speculatively attributed to a relaxing of film censorship rules

See article from



Update: Film Censor Torment...

Noted Chinese director gets beeped as he spoke about film censorship

Link Here19th April 2013
Full story: Film Censorship in China...All Chinese films censored to be suitable for kids

Noted Chinese Film Director Feng Xiaogang brought up a taboo subject in a speech when he accepted the honor of director of year from the China Film Directors Guild. A video of the event recorded his speech:

In the past 20 years, every China director faced a great torment and that torment is [beep].

The censored word, as anyone reading Feng's lips can surmise, is censorship. Feng choked up with emotion before he spoke about censorship, and as soon as he did, the attendees in the ball room let out a collective whoa, breaking into applause. Feng continued:

A lot of times when you receive the order [from the censors], it's so ridiculous that you don't know whether to laugh or cry, especially when you know something is good and you are forced to change it into something bad. Are Hollywood directors tormented the same way? ... To get approval, I have to cut my films in a way that makes them bad. How did we all persist through it all? I think there is only one reason -- that this bunch of fools like us love filmmaking -- are entranced by filmmaking -- too much.

The video of Feng's acceptance speech has gone viral on China's social media. One post containing the video was retweeted more than 10,000 times on Twitter-like Sina Weibo.



Update: In a Stew...

MP calls for a Chinese film rating system after parents whinge at Hong Kong film

Link Here26th February 2013
Full story: Film Censorship in China...All Chinese films censored to be suitable for kids

A Shanghai People's Congress delegate called on the local government to institute a film ratings system after complaints arose about a popular Chinese movie released earlier this month.

The Hong Kong-directed film Journey to the West: Conquering the Demons , has drawn the ire of parents and media critics due to several scenes, including one in which humans were roasted alive in a cooking pot.

Some children complained about feeling sick to the stomach after watching the scenes, according to a news report on Shanghai Television Station.

Delegate Li Ming submitted a proposal last year suggesting that the local government create a ratings system that could serve as a model for the rest of the country. However, authorities did not directly reply to his proposal.

Local authorities could create a rating system based on those in Hong Kong or the US, said Shi Chuan, a professor of film studies at Shanghai University:

Along with ratings for violent and pornographic content, the system should also define other issues such as ethnic jokes, which might spark disputes over ethnic discrimination in China.

Chinese national film censors at SARFT turned down the idea of rating films in 2010.



Update: At least China is Uncompetitive in one Market...

Extreme film censorship puts a dampener on local production

Link Here 1st January 2013
Full story: Film Censorship in China...All Chinese films censored to be suitable for kids

China is wrestling with how to reconcile its extreme censorship system with the need to create films the world will want to watch.

Xie Fei, a professor at the prestigious Beijing Film Academy, recently sparked a debate on government control over the film industry when he called for replacing the country's censorship procedures by a movie rating system with ratings similar to those used in the United States. Xie wrote in an open letter:

In the past few years, there were so many unwritten laws when censoring movies. Unwritten laws such as: 'ghosts are not allowed in contemporary settings,' 'extramarital affairs are not allowed,' 'certain political incidents are not allowed,' etc. The censorship system [in China] is not defined by law, but done according to individuals.

Such rules are killing artistic exploration.

Beijing-based filmmaker Dayyan Eng responded saying that with more foreign films entering the domestic market, local directors struggle to compete. He blames it partly on the censorship system.

It's [Censorship] restricting what we can make. And I think that everyone has been finding out, especially this year, because the local films have been killed by Hollywood.

If Hollywood is allowed to make whatever they want, and actually most of them, the big budget ones anyway, are being shown in China, we are at a disadvantage because the system that's in place to regulate or censor this things is not the same for Chinese films and for Hollywood films.

Eng's latest film, Inseparable , was the first wholly local production to feature a Hollywood star, Kevin Spacey. Eng says the censorship system influenced the way he wrote his movie.

When I first started out doing the story and writing the script and even up to shooting and editing it, in a way I have to censor myself a little bit. For example, there would be certain scenes I want to do, but I would think 'Maybe it is not going to pass the censorship if I do it this way, if I go too far' so I tend to pull myself back little bit.

Although Chinese lawmakers recognize that domestic films are facing increasing pressure to compete with foreign films, they did not directly respond to Xie Fei's suggestions that a US-style rating system was better than China's censorship rules.

Similar proposals surfaced in 2007, after nude scenes in the Ang Lee film Lust Caution were cut before the film's release in China. But censors put an end to the idea when a senior official from SARFT said that such a system would not be appropriate for China.

But now, with a growing number of actors, directors and producers sharing their views online, it has become easier for critical voices to contribute to the national discussion. Film producer Robert Cain has consulted Hollywood and Chinese studios on co-productions since 1987. He says that by not establishing a rating system, the Chinese government is patronizing its public:

There is no need to treat everyone in China like a child or an infant that can be hurt by certain topics in movies. Everyone knows that people have sex, everyone knows that crime takes place and it seems very hypocritical to me that the government wants to pretend, at least in films, that these things don't happen in China.



Update: Killing Artistic Exploration...

Chinese film director writes an open letter explaining how China suffocates its film makers

Link Here 18th December 2012
Full story: Film Censorship in China...All Chinese films censored to be suitable for kids

Award-winning Chinese director Xie Fei has accused his country's censorship rules of killing artistic exploration in an open letter to authorities.

Xie, whose films include Woman Sesame Oil Maker , which won the Berlin Film Festival's Golden Bear prize in 1993 - has not made a film since 2000. He urged censors to give clearer rules on banned topics. Xie wrote that China's system:

Long ago lost its real social, economic, ideological and cultural significance.

It has only become a corrupt black spot for controlling the prosperity of the cultural and entertainment industry, killing artistic exploration and wasting administrative resources.

In his letter, Xie urged censors to:

Move from the current administrative review system to a rating system that allows for a self-governed and self-disciplined film industry, bound by legal restrictions and administrative supervision.

Currently, China has no film age rating system and films must be made suitable for all audiences. This means that many western films have been subject to cuts in order to be released. China also maintains a quota of just 20 foreign movies that can be shown in cinemas.


12th April

Update: Harmonious Ethical Social Environment Bollox...

China censors Kate Winslet's nude scene in Titanic 3D

Chinese film censors have been spouting about ludicrous reasons for cutting Titanic 3D.

Kate Winslet's famous bare-breasted life drawing scene has been censored in a bid to supposedly promote a harmonious ethical social environment , according to China's State of Administration of Radio, Film and Television (SARFT) classification board. A SARFT official told Offbeat China:

Considering the vivid 3D effects, we fear that viewers may reach out their hands for a touch and thus interrupt other people's viewing. To avoid potential conflicts between viewers and out of consideration of building a harmonious ethical social environment, we've decided to cut off the nudity scenes.

The nude scene was fully intact in the original Chinese screenings of the film in 1998.


24th August

Update: Cinema only Fit for Kids...

China ends debate about introducing age classification for movies

China's film censor, the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television, said that an ongoing debate about a film classification system must end now and that China had no plans to introduce such a system as it was inappropriate.

We did a lot of investigation and research in both the overseas and domestic market, but decided that the movie classification system is not appropriate for the Chinese movie market currently, said Zhao Shi, vice minister of SARFT.

China is developing its own way to maintain the management of the movie market in a legal, scientific and effective way, and this 'own way' would be more suitable for China's domestic conditions and the reform of China's movie business, she said.

Many in the film business had hoped that a film classification system would be introduced as it would diminish  the need for censorship.

As it stands in China, all films have to be cut so as to be suitable for all ages.

The censorship process also takes a long time giving pirates ample time to flood the market with good DVD copies of the movie for impatient filmgoers.


27th January

Update: Classified as Backward...

Chinese censors will continue to insist that all films are suitable for kids

A movie rating system cannot be implemented at the present time, a Chinese official has said.

Zang Zengxiang, deputy director of the Beijing municipal bureau of radio, film and television, said the bureau has been researching the feasibility of a movie rating system for several years. He said the research proved clearly that Beijing couldn't carry out a movie rating system for many reasons but he didn't explain any of them.

Audiences in the capital have grown used to spending their money on censored movies. All domestic and foreign movies must be censored in order to receive public viewing licenses from the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television.

Movies that show numerous sexual or violent scenes undergo large-scale deletions, an act that has been fiercely criticized as producing emasculated stories by some film industry insiders.

The fruitless struggle against censorship  started in 2003 with the first movie rating proposal by Wang Xingdong, a member of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference.

Li Yu, director of the Berlin Film Festival's nominated film Apple , which went through censorship a total of five times for its sex scenes, told METRO she never believed a rating system could be implemented under the current cultural and economical environment: We refer to censorship as an 'iron' rule, meaning that no one can move or dodge it . She added that the absence of a rating system took away the adult audience's right to watch adult scenes, and made it impossible to prevent younger moviegoers from seeing films with violence and sexual content.


19th January

Update: One Dimensional Censors...

China bans the general distribution of Avatar

China is to pull the plug on screenings of Avatar at most cinemas and replace the Golden Globe-winning film with a 'patriotic' biopic on the life of Confucius, according to reports.

Hong Kong's Apple Daily said the state-run China Film Group has ordered cinemas across China to stop showing the 2D version of the film and to show only the 3D edition, amid concerns from China's censors that it could cause unrest. Because there are so few 3D cinemas on the mainland, the order effectively prevents general distribution of the James Cameron blockbuster.

The Central Publicity Department is said to have issued an order to the media prohibiting it from hyping up Avatar, the newspaper said.

The film opened on 4 January to queues across the country, with Imax cinemas said to be booked for weeks ahead. It was due to run until 28 February, including over Chinese new year. Instead, the reports said, the 2D version will close on 23 January.


16th January

Rated as a Small Improvement...

Chinese censors suggest a two ratings system

China's State Administration of Radio, Film and Television (SARFT) has submitted the final version of its Film Promotion Law to the State Council and a film rating system may be implemented, according to sources from the ongoing 10th Seminar for Film Directors from the Chinese mainland, Taiwan and Hong Kong.

The system, which will have a comparatively simple "two ratings", may offer some films that fail to meet mainland censorship requirements access to the Chinese mainland audience.

The current system has a single rating and that has to be suitable for children of all ages

A total of 150 directors took part in the seminar.

Update: Low Expectations

9th February 2009. See article from

A film rating system is very essential in China, Tong Gang, director of Motion Picture Bureau with the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television (SARFT) was quoted as saying by a report on website of the Ministry of Culture.

A movie rating system in China has been discussed for years since the people have begun to enjoy an increasing number imported films and a booming domestic film market.

The director said the draft of the law had recently been finished and was submitted by the SARFT to the State Council, China's cabinet. He did not reveal that whether the NPC's annual session this year would review or approve the draft law.

Tong said he had supported a movie rating system in China when he was interviewed by a TV program in Singapore and he expressed a will to take Hong Kong's rating system as a reference during a visit to the SAR: However, my utterance has been overexplained and even distorted by some media reports. A rating system in China will not mean that we will allow depictions of porn or violence in the movies for sales and screen.


9th March

Update: Terrifying Censors...

Chinese censors publish some of their guidelines

Censors reiterated the criteria for censorship saying that films with explicit sex and fear-provoking elements must be cut or revised before release.

The State Administration of Radio, Film and Television (SARFT) said in a notice on its website that the move was intended to purify screen entertainment and create a more harmonious and "green" film environment for the public, especially children.

The censor asked nationwide studios not to produce films that depict hardcore sexual activity, rape, prostitution, nudity and the like. Vulgar dialogue or music and sound effects that had a sexual connotation were also restricted.

Content involving murder, violence, horror, evil spirits and devils and excessively terrifying scenes, conversations, background music and sound effects were on the list as well.

Other films that would be banned include those that:

  • Distort the civilization and history of China or other nations
  • Tarnish the image of revolutionary leaders, heroes, important historic characters, members of the armed forces, police and judicial bodies
  • Reconstruct crimes or reveal police investigatory techniques
  • Advocate nihilism, environmental damage, animal abuse and the capture or killing of rare animals.


6th March

China Not Rated...

Censor rates all film viewers as kids

Hopes for film ratings in China took a step back as a senior government official here equated the creation of such a system with legalizing the production of pornography.

Liu Binjie, director of China's General Administration of Press and Publications (GAPP), said film ratings are "too sensitive" for the general public, and no such measures could be undertaken currently because China had yet to build a mature and orderly film market, the Xinhua News Agency reported.

Under the current circumstances, a film rating system equals legalizing the mass production of pornographic publications, he said.

Currently, films seeking cinematic release in China must be approved as suitable for all audiences, with cuts requested of scenes deemed too sexual, violent, or related to horror, magic and superstition.

The ultimate authority on a film rating system will likely be the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television, which regulates the production and distribution of film and television, although GAPP may have some say over whether products would be re-rated for home video release.

Censor Watch logo





Censorship News Latest

Daily BBFC Ratings

Site Information